Study: 9 in 10 ALS patients infected with Lyme bacteria

There have been several studies that found a strong link between Lyme disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The Halperin paper is one. The Halperin paper found Lyme infection in nearly all ALS patients in their study group, but Halperin, a long-time "debunker" of chronic Lyme disease dismissed this as a "coincidence" and the paper's authors even fudged the numbers in their summary to make the Lyme infection rate seem "only" 47%.

Not too long ago, scientific research papers were freely available online but nowadays, most are zealously guarded by a few publishing conglomerates that charge about the same for an article as you would expect to pay for the latest music DVD of a superstar. When you purchase, you give them your name, address, email address and IP address and have to agree not to reproduce the article. The whole system is designed to keep medical breakthroughs secret to the public in general and journalists in particular, and to intimidate and prosecute those who seek to uncover such secret knowledge. Aaron Swartz sacrificed his life trying to change this situation.

No wonder that the average person with ALS has no inkling of the fact that there is solid research, showing that ALS is strongly associated with Lyme disease.

The Halperin paper mentions in its first paragraph (green box below) that nine out of nineteen ALS patients tested positive for Lyme. The notoriously unreliable ELISA test was used, a test with an unacceptably high proportion of false negatives. So that would be 47% of ALS patients testing positive for Lyme.

47% would be an astonishingly high number by itself, but the paper's authors, led by the infamous "Chronic Lyme does not exist" anti-Lyme activist Dr. Halperin "cooked the books" and only casually mentioned further in the paper (red boxes below), that in fact it was 21 out of 24 ALS patients that tested Lyme-positive, making it 88%, or almost nine out of ten patients. Since the false-negative rate of the tests used is notoriously high, we are justified in concluding that most likely, every single ALS patient in their study was Lyme-positive.

The authors decided to pretend that cell-mediated immunity to Borrelia did not count as "Lyme-positive", even though it is a certain indicator of internal exposure to the bacterium.[1]

What was the likelihood, in 1990, the date of the study, of a person with ALS testing positive for Lyme disease? There were around 8,000 reported cases in 1990. IgM antibodies imply active Lyme infection, so we would expect to see only around 10,000 Americans testing positive for IgM antibodies. IgG antibodies last much longer, so we will take all reported cases from 1982 to 1990 into account, approx. 35,000 patients testing IgG positive. Reported cases are largely based on positive test outcomes rather than clinical diagnoses, so we do not have to correct for false positives. However we do have to correct for actual cases vs. reported cases. The most alarmist estimations now in 2011 are that there are ten times more Lyme cases than reported. Assuming that in 1990, Lyme infections occured five times more often than reported to the CDC, we would expect 5 x (8,000 + 35,000) = 215,000 Americans to test positive for Lyme in 1990.

Source: CDC

In 1990, the US population was 249 million people. The percentage of people testing Lyme-positive would therefore be roughly estimated as (215,000 / 249,000,000) * 100% = 0.086%.

The mainstream medical establishment claims that chronic Lyme disease is very rare, and that Lyme disease certainly is generally not the cause of ALS. Therefore, according to their own statistics, if Lyme disease did not cause ALS, one would expect to see approx. 0.086% of ALS patients testing positive for Lyme disease. Instead, 87.5% of ALS patients tested positive in the Halperin paper. At least 21 out of 24 ALS patients had been infected with the Borrelia spirochete. Fasle negatives are very common, false positives are not.

Let that sink in for a moment. Instead of finding 0.086% Lyme-positive ALS patients, we find 87.5% Lyme-positive ALS patients in a large enough sample to be statistically significant. That is 87.5 / 0.086 = 1017 times as many Lyme positive ALS patients as we expected to see. According to the Halperin study, American ALS patients have about a thousand times greater chance to be Lyme-positive than the average American. Not 1000 percent, mind you. 1000 times. That is a 100000% greater occurence of being Lyme-positive. A hundred thousand percent more.

Critics may point out that in fact, about 1% of the US population tests positive for Lyme disease, instead of the statistics-based guesstimate of 0.086%. That would still mean that the ALS patients from the Halperin paper were a hundred times more likely to be Lyme-positive than the general population.

This means that which ever way you interpret the numbers, they state a solid case and that in the face of such overwhelming evidence, Lyme should be assumed the underlying cause of ALS. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so a paper by the infamous anti-Lyme activist Dr. Steere who claims to have found no ALS patient testing positive for Lyme can not be considered counter-evidence, but merely evidence of ulterior motives.

We stress that unlike Atkinson-Barr's testimony, the Halperin paper is not merely anecdotal evidence by someone who is not even a medical doctor - it is a peer-reviewed, published medical study conducted by a team of qualified medical scientists, using control groups and other safeguards.

And even though their conclusion is that Lyme has nothing to do with ALS because they consider their findings to be "coincidental", we think their findings speak for themselves. Nine out of ten ALS patients were infected with the Lyme spirochete, whereas only one in a hundred random people are. Coincidence?


We reproduce part of the Halperin paper here in "fair use":

"Immunologic Reactivity Against Borrelia burgdorferi in Patients With Motor Neuron Disease" by Halperin, et al., Archives of Neurology, May 1990, Volume 47, Number 5, pages 586-594.

Halperin paper ALS Lyme

Halperin paper MND Lou Gehrig's Lyme

Read more about ALS patients having Lyme



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1.  Carl Tuttle    Friday, November 1, 2013

I created the following petition on behalf of the families devastated by Lyme disease who have witnessed first hand a community of physicians influenced by the CDC’s ongoing disinformation campaign aimed at promoting the idea that Lyme is little more than a nuisance disease. California now leads with the number of signatures on this petition but all fifty states are represented as is 21 other countries. (14,664 signatures and growing)

Petition: Calling for a Congressional investigation of the CDC, IDSA and ALDF

Please sign this petition and forward it to others.

33 David Dr
Hudson, NH

Letter to the Editor, The Lancet Infectious Diseases Published May 2012

2.  Sarah Vaughter    Friday, November 1, 2013

Thank you.

I would like to draw attention to these people whose official cause of death was Lyme disease or Lyme + ALS, mentioned in their obituaries and as the coroner's stated cause of death:

15% of them were diagnosed with both ALS and Lyme.

In the article, I provide a link to every obituary of these hundreds of people, so that anyone can verify that the official cause of death is Lyme disease or ALS (with a concurrent diagnosis of Lyme).

3.  albert    Saturday, February 22, 2014

CDC = Center for Disease Corruption
Tuskegee syphilis experiments for 42 years on unsuspecting black people
Salvador: More syphilis experiments on unsuspecting citizens of the country

4.  Ross Eugene Anderson    Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shit Yeah Carl!

5.  Julz    Thursday, August 14, 2014

Read up on the cluster ALS situation at the San Antonio, Texas Air Force Base (Kelly AFB) years ago. Many of the military there would hunt in or explore the tick infested woods surrounding it. The govt. says there "is no cluster". Uh huh.

6.  Sarah Vaughter    Thursday, August 14, 2014

I wrote about it in my book. Pages 17 - 20. I even added pictures of the tick-infested surroundings.

7.  Anna    Saturday, August 23, 2014

If you want to spread the word, why all the warnings about republishing?

8.  Brian White    Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hi, just a note that your math is a bit wrong. Halperin COULD get that many people by "coincidence" with borellia in his random sample of Als patients! But it is a remote chance! Probably a lot smaller chance than 0.000000000000000000001 for the figure that he quoted and add 20 more zeros (at least) before the insignificant 1 for the chance of 21 out of 24. So, scientifically, we can say with confidence that Halperin's "coincidence" was not a true reflection of the situation. In short, he lied and his peer reviewer was asleep or dead or 5 years old when he or she read and reviewed the paper.

9.  Sarah Vaughter    Sunday, August 24, 2014

We re-used the same warnings as on our commercial site, (1) We decided to "recycle" those warnings partially to prevent people from copy-pasting our articles and book here because we constantly update the book.

You are very right in noting that when this site can't be maintained anymore due to our death, that all of it has to go get a public domain license automatically, which we have taken care of.

(2) Another problem is that we want to prevent sites that do not have Lyme patients' interests at heart from using our materials.

(3) A final reason and perhaps the most important has to do with SEO. When our materials get "diluted", Google will not rank us high for ALS/Lyme and in the end, no site will rank as high as we now do for articles we consider important. That would mean that the work has partially been done in vain. We were the _only_ site raising ALS-Lyme awareness to this extent and the work can save countless lives. It should not become "diluted" on conspiracy sites or quackery sites pushing "natural cures" or Big Pharma's symptom relievers.

10.  Brian White    Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hi, Sarah, I have been working on a spreadsheet to check the probabilities. The chances of 11 of 24 coming up at random with a 10% background rate of lyme in the community, (Halperin used friends and family of the soon to be dead ALS patients in his "control" group to help boost the background rate) is 1 in 157,607, If we use a more reasonable (but still high) background rate of 5% this figure becomes 1 in 159,828,214 Does a 1 in 157 THOUSAND! chance come up often in science experiments? How about 1 in 159 MILLION!!!!! What a guy!

11.  Immunologist    Friday, February 20, 2015

This article has flaws all over it. First. The sample group was significantly small for a true study, and they all came from a high epidemic area for Lyme. What about all the other ALS patients across the country, why were they not used as well. Take a look at a graph of the nation for ALS. Does it match the same picture of Lyme across the US. I bet if I stay away from the east coast I will not get ALS because I will not get Lyme. 2nd: A screen test has a high positivity rate to catch all true positives later to be confirmed for a true positive diagnosis for Lyme by western blot. This is for all screen tests which is what this article is using. Real positivity for Lyme is not as high as the article states. I run the test in a Lab. I know the testing by first hand experience. 2nd. Just because you are seropositive does not mean you have Lyme. It just means you could have had any prior exposure to an antigen of B. Burgdorferi (or in some cases any organism that cross-reacts immunologically with the test used. No four fold increase, no active disease state. I find this article no better than a tabloid with articles about the latest gossip in fashion.

12.  Erin    Sunday, May 10, 2015

My mother was a Vet Tech she got ticks bites all the time. One day she complained to me that she had circle like lyme on knee where she had found tick. Maybe 6 months after that she started to have drop foot on same side as she had circle. She told doctors this and they did no lyme test. Said her bloodwork was fine. Took 4 years to get to UVA an them say ALS. She passed away last year and I kick myself for not demanding lyme test. I know it caused it caused it but doctors dont want to test an dig deep. I think its very possible for lyme to trigger onset of ALS.

13.  Sarah Vaughter    Sunday, May 10, 2015

Erin, I have Asperger's so I can't really properly empathize. However reading this makes me very angry and frustrated. Tickbite + EM (Erythema migrans) + classic Lyme sx. = Lyme infection. An "ALS" diagnosis after a Lyme infection is always bogus. My book tries to make the point that there is no such thing as ALS. The docs basically assisted in torturing your mother to death, and they did it because they were lazy ignorant cowards. I can only hope that we can somehow organize and sue such quacks based on autopsy results etc. I fear that day will never come.

14.  Sarah Vaughter    Sunday, May 10, 2015

Thank you for mathematically proving that "ALS + Lyme" = "Lyme".

15.  wag2woody    Friday, June 12, 2015

Does that mean us with Lyme should be tested for ALS? :-)

16.  Traveler from Healing Well    Sunday, August 23, 2015

No, it means that those with ALS should be tested for Lyme- and even if the test comes back as negative (as it often does due to lack of good tests), they should do a trial of Lyme abx to see if there is any improvements. On the Lyme forum that I'm on, there have been several ALS patients that have discovered that it was Lyme the whole time.

17.  Katie Homes    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I read that you say lyme can be the cause of als, but did you ever think that instead of them having als at all they actually just have lyme? how come you didn't mention that in this article? But it seems like you're unsure if lyme can cause als or it's not als at all and just lyme, that's what i want to find out.

18.  Sarah Vaughter    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Because it's the same thing. If you read my book or ALL articles here, I constantly say that ALS does not exist, ALS is not a disease, etc. I think all cases of "ALS" are neurospirochetoses. ALS is in my opinion a symptom classification, not its own disease.

I tried to sound a little "conservative" in order not to scare away too many readers, them thinking I'm a "conspiracy kook". But indeed, ALS is a bullshit-diagnosis. ALS does not exist. It's in many cases Lyme, and in other cases I suspect it's oral treponemes.

19.  Liberty    Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thanks for the interesting thoughts on this. You may want to redo the numbers a little. Perhaps you read the study as having 15 screened positive AND 6 MORE that were seropositive; however, it looks like the 9 of 19 from the study is because there were 15 screened positive, but 6 of those 15 were false positive as proved by the titer. This gives the study number with 15-6= 9 of 24 ALS patients (in a county with high rates of Lyme) that had been exposed to B. burgdorferi, not 21 of 24 as the percentage that should be used to extrapolate the countrywide Lyme exposure to ALS ratio.

20.  Sarah Vaughter    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

There really is no such thing as a false positive for the Lyme test they used. Halperin has a financial and career motive for getting as low a Lyme-positive result as possible. The titers were false negatives.

21.  Alex Holmstedt    Sunday, July 9, 2017

Just want to bring to attention the following by Burton A. Waisbren regarding ALS:

Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Multiple Sclerosis With Antibiotics

Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 1987

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